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CCSD to require masks to start 2021-22 school year

At Monday’s board meeting, the Chambers County School Board unanimously approved that all teachers, staff and students that are in second grade or above must wear a mask.

Originally, the CCSD was not going to require masks when restarting school on Aug. 9, but with a spike in cases due to the Delta variant, the board has changed its mind.

“We spoke about this last week, and as we have been monitoring the situation with the new variant, the numbers have spiked. I got off the phone with officials from East Alabama this afternoon and have been speaking with them this week and last week. The promising sign is the numbers don’t seem to be spiking as bad as they were a week ago,” Superintendent Casey Chambley said. “Speaking with officials from East Alabama and looking at the Alabama Department of Public Health, they did come out and recommend the wearing of masks for school children.”

Masks will be worn in CCSD buildings but will not be required to be worn during PE. Though the CCSD will start out requiring masks, the plan, as of Monday, will be to revisit the COVID-19 situation monthly.

“We know that we can’t socially distance in our classrooms like we would like, but we can go back and reinstitute some of the precautions that we had when we ended school last year,” Chambley said. “I think it is important that we start school, and we have regular school and we get to a point where we don’t have to go back to a mandated virtual [school option]. I think masks will help us limit the spread until we get this variant under control. I think we can stay with that as long as we need to, as long as we see fit and look at it monthly.”

Teachers and students that are vaccinated will still be required to wear masks.

“The officials at East Alabama that I spoke to, they are still seeing even people that got vaccinated have this variant. However, what they’re seeing is they are breezing through it much easier,” Chambley said. “The people that they are having to hospitalize and are having a more difficult time with it did not receive a vaccine. Student vaccinations are going to be a parental decision. What we will follow are the guidelines of the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health as it pertains to quarantines.”

Due to Alabama not being under a state of emergency, employees that are not vaccinated will have to use sick days if they contract or are exposed to the virus.

More information will be announced on Tuesday when the CCSD sends out its 2021-22 school “roadmap.”